Here at Nettlecombe Court we are working hard to ensure that we minimise our impact on the environment and strive towards sustainability in all that we do. We are lucky to be based in a beautiful and biologically diverse area and we want to keep it that way! We have written an eco code to help us do this and are working towards lowering our carbon footprint as part of FSC’s Carbon Management Plan. Nettlecombe Court also holds a Green Tourism Gold Award.
Read on to find out how we are working to reduce our environmental impact in key areas.
Energy and Water
2016 has seen the continued switchover to LED lighting throughout the building, to ensure that energy is used as sustainably as possible. LED bulbs are about 10 times more efficient at turning electricity into light than conventional bulbs and also last longer. The upcoming refurbishment to the building will provide the opportunity to fit energy efficient lighting in all bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as water saving devices on taps and showers. Another exciting change planned to take place during the building works is a change to our boiler system, to allow the integration of biomass in the future. This is a big project but will be very worthwhile, as the Centre’s hot water and heating, which is currently supplied using propane gas, will be from a renewable source. We are lucky at Nettlecombe to be able to access our own private spring for our water supply, however pumping it to where it is needed uses energy so we still strive to save water wherever we can and encourage our visitors to be mindful of how much they use.
An old style conventional 100W lightbulb (left) can be replaced by a 5W LED bulb (right)
In 2015 Nettlecombe was successful in obtaining funding from the FSC’s Green Fund, a central fund that is available to all FSC centres who wish to apply for money towards innovative and sustainable ways of reducing carbon output. We bought some pallet truck scales to allow us to weigh the waste that we send to landfill each week, as well as the waste that we send for recycling. This is the start of a monitoring programme, which will allow us to establish a baseline data set. From this we will be able to identify areas where we could improve and reduce our waste output, with a particular focus on decreasing the volume of waste we send to landfill. One way we plan to do this is to stop throwing away cooked food waste and instead send it to a local biogas digester or investigate ways we could process it onsite, for example using a hot composter. All non-cooked food waste is currently composted and then used around the Centre grounds.
Education Assistant Hamish and the pallet truck scales in action
An important part of any visit to a field centre is the food! Here at Nettlecombe there are many ways we try to reduce our carbon footprint and promote sustainability through the food we provide for our visitors. We continue to use local suppliers wherever possible and have committed to only using British meat, which helps to cut down on food miles. A tricky decision was taken to remove tuna from the standard packed lunch menu, due to the environmentally destructive methods used in the intensive fishing industry and the endangered status of bluefin tuna. We are also hoping to increase the amount of food in our menu which is grown on site, building on this summer’s crop of green leafy vegetables, salad and potatoes, which were produced in Nettlecombe’s cottage garden (tended by dedicated residential staff) and enjoyed by visitors and staff alike. Future plans include building a solar heat pump in our greenhouse that will allow us to grow produce all year round and creating planters made from recycled wooden pallets, which will highlight the importance of locally sourced food to our visitors.
Nettlecombe's cottage garden in full summer glory
The FSC's Environmental Policy can be viewed here
To find out more about Green Tourism visit http://www.green-tourism.com